RealTime IT News

Nvidia Inside?

The business computer market is dominated by a few big names, including IBM, Dell, HP and Lenovo. But one significant player you don't hear that much about is "Other," the millions of so called "white box" PCs built by system integrators, resellers and other manufacturing entities.

Now graphics chipmaker Nvidia has plans to make these systems more attractive to medium-size businesses and corporations with a testing and certification program.

Nvidia, best known for its graphics chips used for gaming, has developed the Nvidia Business Platform (NBP) in concert with AMD and other partners aimed at the white box PC market.

"This is a 20 million unit annual opportunity in the US and Europe that's primarily served by Intel today," David Ragones, product manager for the Nvidia Business Platform, told internetnews.com. "We're enabling the channel to sell against the Dells and HPs of the world."

NBP works with and extends AMD's own Customer Stable Image Platform (CSIP) program and includes a unified driver architecture. "Intel dominates the desktop market for large business, but there's a lot more frothy opportunity in smaller and mid-size businesses for alternative suppliers," Roger Kay, analyst with Endpoint Technologies, told internetnews.com.

"You don't buy a transmission, you buy a car. This is the kind of thing AMD needs to get more of the business market. The stable image is extremely important to business because it makes it a lot easier to install and maintain the same hardware and software on multiple machines."

The Nvidia Business Platform Certified logo will appear on computers certified by NVIDIA. Intel has expanded its branding program in recent years with the addition of the Centrino mobile, Viiv consumer and Intel Leap ahead (which replaced Intel Inside) logos.

The business platform has already started on an informal basis, but a larger public rollout is planned in the coming weeks. Elements of the NBP program include what Ragones said will be rigorous testing of motherboards from such companies as Foxconn, Assus, MSI and Gigabyte, and other components from manufacturers participating in the program.

Further compliance analyzer software will verify the AMD processor, voltage regulation, temperature and other specs based on the NBP certification criteria.

"We're giving the channel the testing resources they wouldn't have otherwise," said Ragones.

Nvidia is aligning its NBP with AMD's product roadmap and says it will update the stable image or platform every 12 months. The current NBP is based on either AMD Athlon 64 or Athlon 64 X2 CPUs. The hardware is "Vista read" but doesn't require the forthcoming new version of Microsoft's operating system.

From an IT perspective, Nvidia said it's working with Microsoft and Altiris to provide standard software installation and manageability features.

NBP PCs will include remote boot, restart and shutdown, as well as ActiveArmor Firewall protection.

If the business push is a surprise by a company known for its popularity among gamers, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is quick to point out it has an established business presence.

For example, NVIDIA says seven out of 10 Wall Street trading floors use NVIDIA technology for multi-displays and 9 out of ten automobiles are designed on NVIDIA-powered workstations.

NVIDIAs effort dovetails with AMD's own recent push to build its channel presence for commercial or business accounts.

Earlier this week AMD announced more than 500 new participants joined its AMD Commercial Systems Channel Program, which system includes integrators, value-added resellers (VARs) and distributors.